One of the things I was most concerned about before we started this trip was how personal space and overlanding was going to work. Will and I both have written in the past about how much we enjoy our personal space. If you look at the size of the homes we’ve lived in over the last 6+ years you can easily get a sense of just how far away we like to be from each other.
In Taiwan we had a three bedroom, two bath apartment. That’s quite big for Taiwan although I did see some much bigger.
In Peru we had a three bedroom, two bathroom house with a lanai the size of the interior ground floor.
In Abu Dhabi we had a four bedroom, five bathroom home on three levels.
In San Cristobal we had a six bedroom house with six and a half bathrooms.
Of course, all of this was way too much space for two people but either price or circumstances out of our control put us in these ginormous houses and I got used to it.
Now, things are different. I’ve gotten somewhat used to life in a camper. I’ve mastered the turn and twist so one of us can get from the stove to the fridge. I’ve mastered my descent from the bed to the couch to the door if Will is in the aisle. It’s really not so bad.
However, there are those times when I miss those extra bedrooms and bathrooms. Like when I want to stay up til all hours reading and I don’t want to disturb Will. Or when one of us is sick and constant bathroom runs are just easier in another bedroom. Or when we’ve had chili for dinner.
But as I slowly learn that giving up my personal space hasn’t quite been the temper tantrum catastrophe I imagined, there’s now a new personal space and overlanding issue I’ve got to contend with.
From the beginning of this trip we’ve pretty much been the only people at every campground we’ve visited. I’ve lamented about that so frequently that you’d think that as soon as we found a campground with other campers in it I might have cried with joy.
This brings us to our current location, La Habana on Zipolite Beach in Oaxaca. It’s about as idyllic a location as you can get. Cabanas with palapa roofs are perched on stilts overlooking one of the nicest beaches I’ve ever seen, electric outlets are available for campers and you back in toward the cabana, leaving the space underneath as your shady lounge area. There’s a tent camping area further down. There’s a restaurant with cheap and tasty food and the bathrooms are spotless.
So what’s the catch. This place is packed. I mean packed to the point that I’m seriously worried about fire. You know, palapas and fireworks are a recipe for disaster and a lot of our fellow campers are taking advantage of the cheap Mexican fireworks. If a fire did start all we could do is run away on foot. Moby is blocked in from every angle. We’d lose everything.
And then there’s our fellow campers. It seems like most of them have been doing this for a while and their comprehension of personal space and overlanding is very different than mine. The boundaries created at this campground are pretty clear. We pay more for our space with electricity and the little lounge area than the tent campers do. However, the tent campers don’t see much wrong with unplugging truck campers to charge their phones.
Without even really asking.
Who does that?
And there are fairly clear paths to the restaurant, main beach, and bathrooms but not very many people use them. That means that people come strolling through our campsite or, in the case of the kids, streaking through, leaving knocked over beer bottles and general mayhem in their wake.
I don’t travel with young kids but I know a lot of people who have. In my imagination when the family finally parks for the night, especially after a long drive, they’re just like “Run, children! Run until you can’t run anymore then do it again. Mommy and Daddy will be over here drinking wine and questioning again why we took a trip like this with you.”
So here we sit, surrounded by French families and couples on all sides. They’ve all kind of banded together because they’re French, I guess, and we’re just these lone North Americans who don’t speak French and many of them don’t speak Spanish. No one is rude; they’re just kind of cliquey.
It kind of makes me regret that degree in Mandarin I thought would be so useful.
So is it just me, corn fed and raised with the concepts of personal space and boundaries shoved down my throat? Is that why the French parents of the naked baby who is currently wandering through our camp space, dangerously close to bottles and lighters, don’t seem to care or even notice? Look, I’m all for parents traveling the world with their children but amongst the homeschooling and worldschooling activities was the notion of boundaries left out of the curriculum?
Or is personal space and overlanding an idea I should just abandon, like I did with my hairdryer and concept of time?
These are the thoughts I’ll be thinking today as I continue to keep stray babies away from the glass and the ashtrays.